Moving somewhere new is a great adventure! However, after the excitement of arriving drains, culture shock begins to set in. While the only real cure for this is time – there are some things you can do to help process the change!
A plate is placed before you. You try not too look horrified. Your new local friends beam with pride at introducing you to their local cuisine. You stare at the thing on the plate and try not to grimace. You realize that you are going to have to eat this. Even worse, you’re going to have to look like you enjoy it! To your surprise, you love it!
Daydreaming about your family’s Sunday dinners isn’t unusual when you move abroad. Adapting to new foods can be challenging – so here are some tips!
- Try new things! – You will usually find that you like them. Sometimes you just need to grow a taste for a new dish, don’t give up – soon you’ll be looking forward to your meals!
- Ask for cutlery! – If you find yourself in a restaurant unable to use the utensils, ask for a fork – it’s less embarrassing than dropping food all over the table!
- Find shops selling food from home – With a little research you might be able to find a shop selling brands you know.
- Pack your favorites – If there’s something you know you just can’t live without, think about dedicating it some suitcase space.
- Post it – If you are truly desperate you can always get somebody to post it to you. Try to only do this with foods which won’t melt or go out of date – posting can take an incredibly long time!
- Speak slowly – you can’t hear how strong your accent is so make everyone’s life easier and slow down the pace.
- Avoid Irish phrases – a lot of phrases that Irish people interpret naturally make absolutely no sense if taken literally or if translated. So avoid using these with people unaccustomed to them. Eg. good craic, taking the piss, go away outta that, yer one…
- Explain what you want – Irish people are notorious for hinting at what they want instead of saying it. This works with other Irish people who will automatically interpret your intentions correctly. However, people from other countries often become confused. If you want something you need to say it, it won’t be considered rude – it’s what they expect!
- Don’t judge – we automatically assess people’s behavior, manners and word choice. When socializing with people from other cultures this is pointless. They might not be following the same etiquette rules you are – they may be mistranslating and if they are offending you, they probably don’t know it!
- Take note – you’ll begin to notice what words/phrases/grammar people understand. Avoid saying things you have already learned causes confusion!
Culture shock works two ways – you’re going to have to readjust to being your old self once you return home!